The Constitutional Court of Italy Wednesday ruled Italian children should be given the surname of both parents.
It is a long-standing tradition in Italy that all newborns are automatically given their father’s surname. But in Wednesday’s decision, the court described the practice as “discriminatory and harmful to the identity” of the child. Specifically the court said the tradition violated both the Italian Constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court ruled that children should be given both parents’ surnames in any order, unless the parents agree their children should just take one of the surnames. The new rule applies for children born in marriage, out of wedlock and adopted.
New legislation, to be approved by Italy’s parliament, is now required to align with the court’s ruling.
Italy’s Family Minister Elena Bonetti wrote on Facebook following the decision that the government would support the new law. Bonetti said: “We need to give substance [to the decision] and it is a high priority and urgent task of politics to do so.”